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Emotiva XMC-2 Review (AV Processor)

Dj7675

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Remember, all those pretty charts for the Denon AVRs were measured in “best case” scenarios too. Just making sure all are on equal grounds (which I get is nearly impossible).
What do you mean the Denon's were measured in "best case" scenarios... my understanding is all AVR's etc are measured the same... 2v for unbalanced and 4v for balanced..
 

garbulky

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I have. It is actually an article I wrote for WSR magazine. See: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...derstanding-digital-audio-measurements.10523/

If I remember, I will link to it in future reviews so the question doesn't come up.
To be fair that is not exactly a proper way to detail your test procedure and setup. It's more generalized and written for a different purpose.

I think people are looking for a more formal writeup, pictures of your test bench. The associated equipment you use. All the different tests you run and the settings for each one. For instance, you've mentioned in the past that several other equipment is connected to the same power strip as the equipment. Your defense of that is that equipment should be built to handle these differences. But nevertheless, it does change your test setup.
 

NTK

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I don't know if we speak about the same thing, the cheapest JBL SDP-75 advertised on the web is about 25k EUR, which is a bit less than $30k USD.
You must be missing the story. @DonH56 bought the XMC-1 first. It worked so poorly for him that he had to ditch it and (reluctantly?) went with the SDP-75.
 

DonH56

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I don't know if we speak about the same thing, the cheapest JBL SDP-75 advertised on the web is about 25k EUR, which is a bit less than $30k USD.

Sounds about right. I did not say it was inexpensive, but it works. The XMC-2 is still buggy and lacking some key features I wanted in the upgrade. To me, "perform" means that it works, and when I have to reboot the XMC-1 about every other time I use it, fiddle with settings and/or power cycle various components to get HDMI to synch, manually integrate multiple subs due to the way the bass management chain is structured, and so forth, then I could argue the SDP-75 is more than ten times the performance of the XMC-1. The SDP-75 is also much more flexible in every way.

I am not willing to pay for expensive cables with no clear benefit, but am willing to pay for products that work as they intended. The SDP-75 is my "end game" processor at the end of 50 or so years of experience with various audio components. Nothing says it has to be yours.
 

Lsc

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unlike what you state, the original discoverer of the bass issue states that dirac does nothing toward fixing the bass issue. It cannot be fixed by dirac. If you are speaking of another bass issue then feel free to ignore this comment.
If not, please post your measurements here or at the (still open) emotivalounge thread. I'd love to see a comparison of yours vs the starter of the thread.
If you have information that helps my situation of course I’m all ears (no pun intended). I’m talking about running Dirac room correction and noticing that I have about 10-12 dB boost (room issue) from 20 Hz to 40 hz? Not sure about the 2nd value. So I apply a 8 or 10 dB Harman curve - so post Dirac, the bass sounds better.
 
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DonH56

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You must be missing the story. @DonH56 bought the XMC-1 first. It worked so poorly for him that he had to ditch it and (reluctantly?) went with the SDP-75.

Close. I was reluctant to pay for it, surely, but was excited about all the features it had, the premier support, and upgradability.

I can't quite remember when I bought the XMC-1; it was about a year after they released it and it took about that long for the major bugs to be worked out. I did find one major bug right after I got it, and that was quickly fixed by a FW update (they were already aware of the problem). With a few quirks (like integrating my subs) it worked well for me after that. A few years later I got the long-awaited HMDI 2.0b board, again months after it was first released, and along with many others dealt with all the bugs and such for about a year before it got mostly stable. By that time the RMC-1 had been announced for a year or two and was released a few months later, though initial shipments were scarce. There was no Dirac Live, and endless user reports of bugs and such, so I resolved to wait it out. It's been what, a couple of years now? There are those who've had no problems, but I know how my luck runs, and compared to the XMC-1 the biggest benefit to me was DLBC and we are still waiting.

Trinnov had problems with their HDMI 2 board as well, and ended up replacing them for their customers. I got very lucky and was able to grab a "refurbished" unit that was essentially a dealer's stock returned for the board replacement so "new" for all intents and purposes. I saved a bundle through having a good dealer I had worked with for several years (and he had an XMC-1 as well) who was watching out for me. I had been thinking about one for a while, was appreciative of Kal's review of the latest version, and started looking closer. I vacillated a while at the cost, and they were good enough to hold it for me several weeks past the time they should rightfully have shipped it or sold it to someone else. By this time the RMC-1 etc. had been "released" for nearly a year and still had major bugs and no DLBC. I got a nice bonus, the wife's blessing, and the SDP-75 instead. My dealer also bought one to replace his XMC-1; reliability in operation was key for a dealer's demos, natch.

I still have a set of Emotiva amplifiers, and have generally a good perception of Emotiva aside from the processors, but the processor saga I have watched for years now and have become pretty jaded.

Back to the XMC-2...
 
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DonH56

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If you have information that helps my situation of course I’m all ears (no pun intended). I’m talking about running Dirac room correction and noticing that I have about 10-12 dB boost (room issue) from 20 Hz to 40 hz? Not sure about the 2nd value. So I apply a 8 or 10 dB Harman curve - so post Dirac, the bass sounds better.

This sounds like two different things. The bass bug has to do with the way they are summing bass from the channels, and/or LFE, and has nothing to do with Dirac Live (DL doesn't know anything about it). If you have room modes boosting the bass, then Dirac Live should correct that, given a good set of measurements and all that jazz. Still, no room correction program is perfect, and a challenging room can fool them. At least you have the ability to correct the curve into something more pleasing. That was a major part of me shifting to the XMC-1, the ability to adjust the curves, which Audyssey did not have at the time, and MCACC (in my previous AVR) was more limited in the things I could tweak (though I was able to beat Audyssey at the time).

The "bass boost" bug they are working now and I am sure they will fix that one. Sounds like DLBC is still in the wings, however, for an indeterminate time to come.
 
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amirm

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To be fair that is not exactly a proper way to detail your test procedure and setup. It's more generalized and written for a different purpose.
It is not general at all. It is meant to describe precisely how to run those tests with the analyzer at hand. I took one of my reviews and walked through each measurement, what it does and why. Connecting wires to an AVP and such is not of any importance or need. Nor would a picture of an analyzer connected to the device make a difference. As for power strip and such, those are vagaries of measurements and unless that is what is at stake, it again is not material.

There is a bit of a protocol after that like setting volume level and such and that is documented in every review.
 

TimoJ

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It is not general at all. It is meant to describe precisely how to run those tests with the analyzer at hand. I took one of my reviews and walked through each measurement, what it does and why. Connecting wires to an AVP and such is not of any importance or need. Nor would a picture of an analyzer connected to the device make a difference. As for power strip and such, those are vagaries of measurements and unless that is what is at stake, it again is not material.

There is a bit of a protocol after that like setting volume level and such and that is documented in every review.
You mention this: "If the DAC output voltage is higher than these nominal values, I often reduce the dBFS incrementally to get it down to where they should be. This sometimes reduces the distortion levels and improves SINAD. Sometimes it doesn’t make a difference. "

Doesn't that make comparisons invalid? What input level was used for XMC-2? What input level was used for RMC-1?
 

garbulky

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It is not general at all. It is meant to describe precisely how to run those tests with the analyzer at hand. I took one of my reviews and walked through each measurement, what it does and why. Connecting wires to an AVP and such is not of any importance or need. Nor would a picture of an analyzer connected to the device make a difference. As for power strip and such, those are vagaries of measurements and unless that is what is at stake, it again is not material.

There is a bit of a protocol after that like setting volume level and such and that is documented in every review.

I would disagree. it is general. It is not talking about YOUR setup. It's talking about how to do something with an AP.
This is for people that want to know if you know what you're doing and that the test conditions are repeatable. Unless there's a reason you don't want to take the time to properly document a test setup, it would be good info to have. Personally I think that there are enough instances of comparison that show you do know what you're doing AFAIK. BUT... in one experiment you mentioned a ground loop that caused you to have to remeasure etc.

Those kind of things can cause doubts which could be erased if you properly document your setup to show that you take precautions against these kind of influences. If you want these devices all in the same strip that may cause these things because it's "real world" then you need to document what your "real world" devices are.

If you want your credibility to stand, everything you do should ideally be repeatable and people should see how you're doing it. Otherwise they will wonder at your lack of transparency.
It would also be good if you included these. Measurements of your lab power supply. Measurements from your wall outlet. Measurements of your AP in its loopback mode. I don't know if AP's have calibration dates, but if it does, the last date of that. you've shown us most of these things, but it is in different areas. Put them in a section where we can find it all.
 

Loron

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You mention this: "If the DAC output voltage is higher than these nominal values, I often reduce the dBFS incrementally to get it down to where they should be. This sometimes reduces the distortion levels and improves SINAD. Sometimes it doesn’t make a difference. "

Doesn't that make comparisons invalid? What input level was used for XMC-2? What input level was used for RMC-1?

That is a very good question! That is the important question because many of us just want to understand. Please explain to us the differences and if there is effectively different ways to get 4 volts output. Thank you.
 

tparm

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What do you mean the Denon's were measured in "best case" scenarios... my understanding is all AVR's etc are measured the same... 2v for unbalanced and 4v for balanced..
That is true, I was referencing your reference stereo comment; the Denon’s best results are in pre-amp mode and pure direct which is essentially the same as reference stereo on the Emotiva.
 
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amirm

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Doesn't that make comparisons invalid? What input level was used for XMC-2?
If I use anything other than 0 dBFS, I indicate so in the review. Here is an example from recent review:

index.php


As you see in the case of above DAC, I clearly specified -2 dBFS. I did that because the above DAC output is high but has no volume control. So I used my input adjustment. Where volume control exists as is the case with AVRs and AVPs, I used the volume control and indicate its level again on the measurements:

index.php


Unless I make a mistake, this is always the protocol. 0 dBFS unless I am forced to change for some reason in which case I indicate such.

I know of no other way to make things more fair than this. Inputs are almost always the same in digital domain per above, and volume control is used to bring the level down to 4 volt for balanced and 2 volts for unbalanced (or close enough since fraction dB is not usually supported).

Depending on how the gain staging is done, some devices may run slightly less optimal at one output vs another. But this should only make a 2 or 3 dB difference, not 20 or 30. If they are unhappy about this, they better get on standardizing these output levels instead of wild west that it is now with each company choosing completely different voltage levels. Yet, they all support the notion of getting an amp from any other company to use with their products. 0 dB on volume controls should be 2/4 volt or I will be forced to change it to get there.
 
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amirm

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BTW I have tested this a number of times and usually if I adjust the input level vs volume control, the results are the same. So the key is having the right output voltage. How you get there makes a tiny difference if at all.
 

Dj7675

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I would disagree. it is general. It is not talking about YOUR setup. It's talking about how to do something with an AP.
This is for people that want to know if you know what you're doing and that the test conditions are repeatable. Unless there's a reason you don't want to take the time to properly document a test setup, it would be good info to have. Personally I think that there are enough instances of comparison that show you do know what you're doing AFAIK. BUT... in one experiment you mentioned a ground loop that caused you to have to remeasure etc.

Those kind of things can cause doubts which could be erased if you properly document your setup to show that you take precautions against these kind of influences. If you want these devices all in the same strip that may cause these things because it's "real world" then you need to document what your "real world" devices are.

If you want your credibility to stand, everything you do should ideally be repeatable and people should see how you're doing it. Otherwise they will wonder at your lack of transparency.
It would also be good if you included these. Measurements of your lab power supply. Measurements from your wall outlet. Measurements of your AP in its loopback mode. I don't know if AP's have calibration dates, but if it does, the last date of that. you've shown us most of these things, but it is in different areas. Put them in a section where we can find it all.
Just my opinion... this seems ridiculous. Maybe I am just not aware, but I have not seen any other reviewer do this kind of thing. Have you asked John Atkinson of Stereophile, Gene at Audioholics, or other reviewers for this info or have they provided it in their measurements and or reviews? I may have missed it but haven’t seen anything like that from them in order to erase any doubts from their bench tests...
 
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amirm

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This is for people that want to know if you know what you're doing and that the test conditions are repeatable.
Denon and Marantz replicated every one of my measurements with zero input from me. My measurement are exceedingly self-descriptive if you knwo what you are doing and you pay attention. The dashboard for example has some of the key information:

1631216676531.png


You immediately know the measurement bandwidth which is key for SNR. You know the whether it was balanced or RCA. You know the input impedance of the measurement system. And sampling rate used. Mention of ASIO means it is either USB or HDMI as the other outputs, Toslink and Coax and specified when used.

Other members like @SIY have replicated my measurements just as well with no hand holding.

If you are not understanding what I am doing then sure, you may now know but even if I wrote a book, you may still remain in the dark.

Unless there's a reason you don't want to take the time to properly document a test setup, it would be good info to have.
I have documented the thing. I don't know why you keep saying this. I have written a full formal article which was published by a magazine and I have linked to it here. It is more extensive than any other write up out there including theory, value of the measurements, etc. So time was taken but apparently not appreciated so why would I do more?

BTW, I have given my exact AP project file to companies when asked. All they have to do is click on it and they are running. Many have done exactly that.
 

tabby

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Sure they are just like they were working hard to get dirac integrated and that only took multiple years.
Show me proof otherwise your response is nothing more than opinion which are like elbows, everyone has one
Lonnie just postet this at the emo lounge:

"Prior to 1.9 the Dolby up mixer was turned on all the time which is what causes the harmonics. The 1.9 code set only applies the up mixer under specific conditions. Now the summed bass mix levels that you are referring to now have to do with some work we are doing to prep for Dolby 1.8 integration. We have identified the various level offsets and addressed this, but that is different from the harmonics."
https://emotivalounge.proboards.com/thread/59158/asr-xmc-2-review?page=9&scrollTo=1078523
 

garbulky

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Denon and Marantz replicated every one of my measurements with zero input from me. My measurement are exceedingly self-descriptive if you knwo what you are doing and you pay attention. The dashboard for example has some of the key information:

View attachment 152382

You immediately know the measurement bandwidth which is key for SNR. You know the whether it was balanced or RCA. You know the input impedance of the measurement system. And sampling rate used. Mention of ASIO means it is either USB or HDMI as the other outputs, Toslink and Coax and specified when used.

Other members like @SIY have replicated my measurements just as well with no hand holding.

If you are not understanding what I am doing then sure, you may now know but even if I wrote a book, you may still remain in the dark.


I have documented the thing. I don't know why you keep saying this. I have written a full formal article which was published by a magazine and I have linked to it here. It is more extensive than any other write up out there including theory, value of the measurements, etc. So time was taken but apparently not appreciated so why would I do more?

BTW, I have given my exact AP project file to companies when asked. All they have to do is click on it and they are running. Many have done exactly that.
I wasn't not appreciating the article. But I'm just saying it wasn't YOUR setup. It was a description of how things are done on a similar topic.
The link doesn't have to be entertaining but I'm sure you have some rigiorous ways you do your thing, so document, provide photos, measurements of your own equipment etc.
I think you do know what you are doing. As you mentioned, your measurements have been duplicated. But it's not for people that think you know your stuff. It's an easy link for people to verify that yes, you DID have things hooked up right. Your calibrations were set like this. It can be the driest boring most detailed thing. An info dump if you will. Otherwise, you're going to have people just coming here and calling you out on stuff that could have been taken care with one detailed link.
BTW Your AP project file is that way too big to post with your review?
 

peng

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BTW Your AP project file is that way too big to post with your review?

I think Amir has shown that project file in at least one (may be just one) of his educational videos. I have never seen any other reviewers including the kind of details you are suggesting in you last couple of posts.

Not saying it is not a good idea, but for someone like Amir who has been testing devices almost one per day, it may not be practical in terms of time spent on something useful/meaningful (that's just my assumption and I could be totally wrong) to include so much details just to satisfy a few who seem to want to challenge the results if and when the results don't seem to commensurate with what they paid for.:D Let's face it, if the XMC-2's results put it on or near the top of the chart, no one would likely be calling Amir out on the "stuff" you referred to..
 
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SimpleTheater

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But it's not for people that think you know your stuff. It's an easy link for people to verify that yes, you DID have things hooked up right. Your calibrations were set like this. It can be the driest boring most detailed thing. An info dump if you will. Otherwise, you're going to have people just coming here and calling you out on stuff that could have been taken care with one detailed link.
What you're asking for no one does without being paid for their time. Do you trust the IIHS safety ratings without seeing their detailed methodology?

That said, I'm wondering why Emotiva wasn't told about these results prior to the publishing of them? Why is Anthem allowed to hold up a review for months while other companies are blindsided by results?
 
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